I am going to go out on a limb and guess that most people don’t know what invertebrates are. Well you do, you just might not realize it. Invertebrates are any animals that are multi-cellular, do not have a spine, and do not have cell walls. Think corals, sponges, bugs, shell fish including crabs and lobsters, snails, slugs, you get the idea. 97% of all animals are invertebrates.
Ward Pound Ridge is a Westchester county park that in recent years I have fallen in love with. It is approximately a 35 minute drive from southern Westchester. Which if you think about it is not bad at all. When you get there you are transported to another world. There are no sounds of our developed world such as cars, sirens, honking, etc. All you hear is the gurgling of the stream, frogs, bugs and birds. It is truly a magical place. Ward Pound Ridge is always hosting events, and I try to make as many of them as possible. Their Firefly Event has become a tradition for us. Unfortunately this year we were not able to make it because we were on vacation. Spencer loves it so much that when I told him we were not going to make it he said we had to leave the beach and go. Now for a three year old to remember something he did last year and to have it make such an impression on him that he wanted to go back is amazing.
August 19th the Lewisboro Land Trust along with the Friends of the Trailside Museum hosted an event on the Waccabuc River. We met the Naturalist Jim Norgren at Kimberly Bridge. He had put out traps and caught several crayfish and a salamander. He also used a screen to filter the water and caught several different kinds of bugs. The recommended age was 5+, but honestly at almost 4, Spencer really enjoyed it. The only thing was that he did interrupt a little be more than the older kids. Jim was wonderful with the kids and shared his excitement of nature with them. He had brought along a table that listed all the different invertebrates that were expected in the river and how clean the water was based on its inhabitants.
After the class was dismissed we went on a bit of a walk with the adults that had come along. Jim was gracious enough to point out lots of different plant species. I had no idea New York had a native wild sunflower or that there were so many different types of fern. Within about 10 feet we spotted 5 different types including, Cinnamon Fern, New York Fern, Sensitive Fern, and Northern Lady Fern.
Normally I have a ‘Take nothing but photos, leave only footprints’ mentality, but this time I allowed Spencer to pick some of the fronds and flowers so that we could talk about them later. I try to always bring a bucket with us when we go in the woods so that he can collect things along the way and we can talk about them after. I am going to have to get him a notebook so that in the future we can dry the things we collect and look for them in books at the library.
I wanted to do that with this batch, but it was so hot in the car that everything wilted. Spencer had said he was done at one point so I dropped everything including the filled bucket in the car. He had said that he wanted to look at the river one last time before we left. And wouldn’t you know it, we spent over an hour exploring that stream! We both had so much fun there. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my boy. We saw so many crayfish, found a beaver dam, trees that were felled by beavers and splashed in the river.
If you have a day off I definitely recommend visiting this place, you will not be disappointed. Here is a list of upcoming events they are hosting. When you go, or if you have been, please share what you have done with me in our Facebook group.
Hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did!